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Airlines Keen to Play Role in Global Climate Talks

airplane2Facing increased costs from complying with regional carbon-reduction schemes, including one from the European Union, airlines are hoping that global climate talks result in an international standard.

Failure to reach global consensus could lead to increased taxes and regulations, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said April 1.

Indeed, some airlines are threatening to adjust flight paths around Europe to avoid complying with EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and a separate measure in the UK, according to a news report. Such measures might actually increase overall airline emissions.

The IATA calls for a “Four Pillar Strategy” on climate change:

  1. investment in technology,
  2. effective operations,
  3. efficient infrastructure, and
  4. positive economic measures

“Governments must move beyond punitive economic measures, such as excessive so-called environment taxes, to focus on measures that reduce emissions in a globally coordinated effort. That was the vision of the wise drafters of the Kyoto protocol. But governments are a long way from achieving it,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Meanwhile, IATA predicts that the global economic downturn could have its own impact on airline emissions, with airlines reducing the number of flights.

IATA pegs overall airline emissions to fall nearly 8 percent. The reduction in flights will account for about 6 percent, while advances in emissions-reducing technologies could account for an additional 1.8 percent drop in emissions.

Bisignani made his comments at the annual Aviation and Environment Summit being held in Geneva by the Air Transport Action Group.

View his entire speech here.

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